When isn’t a school the centre of a community? I agree, schools in communities smaller than 15,000 are central to everything but they are as well in the larger communities. They allow our children to walk, ride, and play within their neighbourhoods which helps strengthen the family and neighbourhood bonds. Districts will need to apply every year for this funding … this does not provide any comfort to potential businesses to set up shop with some assurance there might be a school in the community … say 5 years later. Nor does it meet parent’s demands for the government to provide stable, predictable, and adequate funds for public education. Would you like to move your family and buy a home if you knew the community school could be closed? Click here to read the full article or an excerpt below.
To help rural schools in British Columbia stay open, Premier Christy Clark announced a new Rural Education Enhancement Fund today.
Districts outside Greater Victoria, the Lower Mainland, and Kelowna will be able to apply for ongoing provincial funding that recognizes the unique challenges faced in keeping schools open in rural communities.
“Closing the only high school or elementary school in a rural community has a large impact on that local economy,” Premier Clark said. “With Canada’s strongest economy it’s important that we make sure the benefits are shared by rural communities throughout our province to ensure they have the infrastructure they need to grow, attract talent, and provide critical services like health care. Our rural education strategy will help us accomplish this.”
The amount of funding districts will be eligible for is to be equal to their expected savings from closing the school. Districts would be able to apply annually for Rural Education Enhancement Funding if they meet the following criteria:
- In a rural community or sub-community outside Greater Victoria, the Lower Mainland, and Kelowna areas with a population less than 15,000;
- Closure would eliminate specific grades within the community;
- Funding is used to keep the school open; and
- Closures due to facility condition or extreme enrolment decline are not included.
While the ongoing Rural Education Enhancement Fund will help keep schools open starting this coming school year, Premier Clark also tasked newly appointed parliamentary secretary for rural education Linda Larson and parliamentary secretary for rural development Donna Barnett to conduct a full study of rural education funding in the province to seek a long-term solution.
“For students, families, and rural areas, the local school is the centre of the community and the local economy. In my time as minister I’ve seen that our education funding model doesn’t take all the unique rural factors into account,” Minister of Education Mike Bernier said. “My ministry will work with the parliamentary secretaries to take a hard look at how we can make sure the unique community and economic role of rural schools is supported in how we fund school districts.”
A list pasted below) of potentially closing schools eligible for the funding is in the attached backgrounder.
Schools eligible for Rural Education Enhancement Funding in 2016-17
Kootenay Lake School District (SD 8)
- Yahk Elementary School – Yahk
- Winlaw Elementary School – Winlaw
Quesnel School District (SD 29)
- Kersley Elementary School – Kersley
- Parkland Elementary School – 10 Mile Lake
Okanagan Similkameen School District (SD 53)
- Osoyoos Secondary School – Osoyoos
Bulkley Valley School District (SD 54)
- Kathlyn Lake Elementary School – Lake Kathlyn
Okanagan Skaha School District (SD 67)
- Trout Creek Elementary School – Summerland
Campbell River School District (SD 72)
- Discovery Passage School – Duncan Bay
- Oyster River Elementary School – Oyster River